The Val Ponci quarry

The fascinating quarries of Val Ponci

On the steep eastern slope of Val Ponci, between the Acqua and Voze bridges, there is a vast area where Finale Stone was extracted with three big quarries. The extraction areas were at an altitude between 217 and 238 m a.s.l.

This site from the sixties of the previous century was called the “roman quarries” even if there is no evidence attesting that the material from the quarries was used to build the bridges of via Iulia Augusta.

MORE INFORMATION – The Val Ponci quarry

It’s a fascinating site where Finale Stone presents a thick natural stratification with an inclination of the layers of sedimentation that goes in a north-south direction; a geological situation that favoured the exploitation in tunnels of the bank for the production of stone elements obtained following the cleavage plane and probably destined for the shaping of the blocks thanks to the compactness and homogeneity of the extracted stone.

The three main quarries were opened in tunnels going deeper into the natural bank for extraction. The inside of the tunnels is occupied by a massive filling that comes from the extraction activities. The first quarry has a semicircular shape, with an opening of 10 m, it is 6 m deep, it is 2 m high that towards the bottom of the tunnel reduces to 1,30 m.

The second quarry has a quadrangular shape and is around 30 m deep. It’s entrance measures 14 m and is 3,50 m high that towards the bottom reduces to 1,70 m. At the entrance a drywall structure was built with two walls that close the entrance to the quarry and thus forming a well-defined room.

The third quarry, the biggest one, has an opening of 9 m and is 40 m long with the height at the entrance of 3,50 m that diminishes towards the bottom.

Within the quarry there are evident signs left by the processing of the rock with hammers and chisels that testify the pre-industrial extractive technique but at the moment it can’t be dated because this technique went unchanged from the roman age until the first decades of the 20th century.

Further north there is an open-air extraction area.
Close to these main extraction areas cutting marks are present on some small parts of the slopes where Finale stone emerged.

Also in relation to the type of exploitation and the dimensions of the preserved steps within the tunnels, as well as the compactness of the rock of the banks in the highest part of the eastern slope of the valley, it would seem possible to assume that, at least for the bigger squared Finale stone blocks used in the bridges, material from the quarry was used, exploiting the vast natural cleavage planes rather than using erratic elements or boulders that detached from the rock formation.

To discover close to Val Ponci

The roman Acqua bridge in Val Ponci takes its name from the fact that it is close to a modern building that belongs to the finalese aqueduct.
Only the ramps remain of the Sordo bridge while the arch that arched over Rio Ponci was lost.
The remains of the roman Magnone bridge are situated in a thick woodland setting at around 290 m a.s.l. in proximity of the head of Val Ponci under San Giacomo where the precedent river basin was cut with the formation of the current Val Ponci fossil valley system.
The Fate bridge is situated lower down in the Rio Ponci valley; it is 164 m a.s.l. The name comes from the dialectal word “faje” which means sheep.
The Muto (or Voze) bridge is situated in Val Ponci where the altimetry of the valley lowers drastically going from over 200 m to just 183 m a.s.l.

HOW TO REACH

THE VAL PONCI QUARRY

How to reach the site

The area of the quarries is situated on the eastern side of the Val Ponci valley and can be reached through a branch of the path of the valley floor.

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